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Target: Data breach caught up to 70M customers

By Michelle Chapman

AP Business Writer

LAST UPDATED: 10:51 a.m. HST, Jan 10, 2014

NEW YORK » Target says that personal information — including phone numbers and email and mailing addresses — was stolen from as many as 70 million customers in its pre-Christmas data breach. That was substantially more customers than Target had previously said were affected.

The data breach at Target may have affected as many as 121,000 Hawaii shoppers, officials from the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs said late last month.

The chain also indicated its sales have been hurt by the breach, cutting its forecast for fourth-quarter earnings and a key sales barometer.

Its stock slipped in early morning trading today.

Target Corp. announced in December that about 40 million credit and debit cards may have been affected by a data breach that happened between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15 — just as the holiday shopping season was getting into gear.

But the net has now been cast wider, with more shoppers potentially impacted.

The company told customers today that its ongoing investigation of the breach has shown that more personal information had been stolen than it was aware of before and more customers were affected. It previously disclosed to customers that names, credit and debit card numbers, card expiration dates, debit-card PINs and the embedded code on the magnetic strip on the back of cards had been stolen.

"I know that it is frustrating for our guests to learn that this information was taken and we are truly sorry they are having to endure this," Chairman, President and CEO Gregg Steinhafel said in a statement.

The company said customers won't be liable for the cost of any fraudulent charges that stemmed from the breach.

Target said it will try to contact customers it has email addresses for to provide tips on how to safeguard against consumer scams. The company said it won't ask customers for any personal information during its email communications.

It's also offering a year of free credit monitoring and identity theft protection to customers that shopped at its stores. Individuals will have three months to enroll in the program. Target said it will provide more details on that next week.

Target lowered its fourth-quarter adjusted earnings guidance to a range of $1.20 to $1.30 per share, down from $1.50 to $1.60 per share.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet expect earnings of $1.24 per share.

The Minneapolis company also said that it now foresees fourth-quarter sales at stores open at least a year will be down about 2.5 percent. It previously predicted those sales would be about flat.

This figure is a closely-watched indicator of a retailer's health. It excludes results from stores recently opened or closed.

Target cautioned that its fourth-quarter financials may include charges related to the data breach. The chain said the costs tied to the breach may have a material adverse effect on its quarterly results as well as future periods.

Shares of Target declined 32 cents to $63.03 shortly after the market opened.

The company has 1,921 stores, with 1,797 locations in the U.S. and 124 in Canada.

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HanabataDays wrote:
Sounds more and more like there was a mole in their IT dept if the baddies were able to elope with more than just the info on the card's magnetic strip. The issue for me personally is how sure they are of that Nov 27 start date. If that starts to creep backwards, I'm gonna be concerned because I shopped there in the first half of November. So far, so good.
on January 10,2014 | 05:18AM
Pathfinder wrote:
Bank of Hawaii wanted to charge me $15 to replace my debit card! Who are the real crooks?!
on January 10,2014 | 06:57AM
nodaddynotthebelt wrote:
I don't know about you but I would change banks; to one that does not charge fifteen big ones just to change cards for good reason. I switched after I found out that a customer lost money there as a result of a teller accepting just a fake ID for a withdrawal. What is more disturbing is that the supervisor excused the teller by saying that she couldn't expect ALL her tellers to follow the rules ALL of the time. To me, that is just simply unacceptable.
on January 10,2014 | 10:04AM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Anyone that shopped at Target recently is now a Target for Identity Theft. Be proactive and get yourself protected. Me, I only drink water and have a Zip Pac once in awhile. No more glitzy shopping for me.
on January 10,2014 | 07:32AM
lokela wrote:
I also think it was an inside job. That was a lot of info being hacked. More than normal.
on January 10,2014 | 10:50AM
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